Australian government grants multi-million dollar bid fund

Australia’s multi-billion dollar business events industry has received a huge boost with the creation of a national bid fund, making A$12 million (US$9.5 million) available over the next three years to support bids for new, high-value international incentive, association, and exhibition events.

From July 1, 2018, Tourism Australia will extend its existing support of the Australian business events industry through the Business Events Bid Fund Program (BFP).

Association of Australian Convention Bureaux’s Andrew Hiebl; Tourism Australia’s Penny Lion; Minister for trade, tourism and investment Steven Ciobo; EEAA’s Joyce DiMascio; Melbourne Convention Bureau’s Karen Bolinger at the Destination Australia Conference

Managed by Tourism Australia’s business events unit, Business Events Australia, BFP is designed to increase conversion of business for Australia by offering financial support at the critical bidding stage of new international business events. Funds will only be provided for qualified international business events once the event is confirmed and contracted for Australia.

The new bid fund will support expenditure on goods and services that assist in the delivery of events, for example accommodation or venue hire costs.

A prospectus for the new bid programme is available online at and it outlines the mandatory eligibility criteria required to make a submission as well as a checklist and full terms and conditions.

Applications can be submitted via May 1, 2018, with access to the funds for successful applications available from July 1, 2018.

Announcing the new BFP, federal minister for trade, tourism and investment, Steven Ciobo, said: “Business events travellers are high yielding, spending on average twice as much as a leisure visitor, often extending their visit to regional parts of Australia and returning for a holiday in the future; making them crucial to the broader Australian economy.”

John O’Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia, said that being able to offer financial incentives to help convert bids of national significance into confirmed business would allow Australia to compete more aggressively with the many destinations that already operated national bid funds.

“Australia risks losing market share to our competitors if our business events industry is not able to compete on a level playing field. That’s why the new Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund Program is a game-changer, allowing us to grow our competitive advantage in this critical and lucrative segment of the visitor economy,” O’Sullivan said.

Tourism Australia already supports the Australian business events industry through its marketing communications and distribution development activities, including the Advance Program which supports delegate acquisition activities for existing international business events taking place in Australia.

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has welcomed the announcement.

EEAA’s chief executive, Joyce DiMascio, said the industry has been campaigning for many years for the Federal Government to make a bigger commitment to leverage Australia’s potential as a place for business events.

“This is a step in the right direction and will help boost Australia’s capacity to attract events to Australia.

“We are particularly pleased the bid fund is designed to be “agnostic” and will be open to all types of business events including exhibitions – provided they meet the criteria and can demonstrate clear ROI in international delegates and attendees and spending of over A$3 million,” DiMascio said in a statement.

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